US troops beat back a complex Taliban assault on the largest Coalition base in Afghanistan, killing an estimated 12 Taliban fighters.
The Taliban launched the attack late at night and attempted to penetrate a gate at Bagram Airfield, which is north of Kabul. Heavily armed Taliban fighters, including four fighters wearing suicide vests, attempted to storm the gate but were repelled by US troops manning the security perimeter. “The attack included rockets, small arms and grenades,” the International Security Assistance Force said in a press release.
ISAF estimated that “nearly a dozen” Taliban fighters were killed during the failed assault. “Four of the insurgents killed were intended suicide bombers,” ISAF reported.
One US contractor was killed and nine soldiers were wounded during the Taliban attack. “Two of the nine wounded were returned to duty, all others are currently in stable condition,” ISAF said.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s top spokesman released a statement claiming that “more than 45 US-NATO soldiers killed and scores injured in the attack on Bagram airbase.” He claimed that 20 Taliban fighters penetrated the base’s perimeter. Mujahid released the statement on The Voice of Jihad, the Taliban’s online propaganda arm.
The today’s attack is the second major strike against the Coalition in central Afghanistan in two days. Yesterday, a Taliban suicide bomber killed a Canadian colonel, five US soldiers, and 12 Afghan civilians in an attack on a convoy in Kabul.
The Taliban attacks are designed to break the will of the Coalition and demonstrate that its forces can strike in the heart of Afghanistan. Bagram Airfield is the largest Coalition base, and hosts tens of thousands of Coalition troops. The base is also the main hub for Coalition operations.
Today’s attack is the latest in a series of Taliban terror assaults in Afghanistan [see list below for the larger attacks]. Similar attacks have also taken place in Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, and India.
List of major complex attacks and suicide attacks in Afghanistan since January 2008:
May 19, 2010: US troops repelled a complex Taliban assault on Bagram Airfield. Twelve Taliban fighters, including four suicide bombers, and a US contractor were killed.
May 18, 2010: A suicide bomber killed 12 civilians and six ISAF soldiers in an attack on an ISAF convoy in Kabul.
May 5, 2010: A team of seven suicide bombers and two shooters entered the office of the governor of Nimroz province. The attack was defeated by Afghan police.
Feb. 26, 2010: A Taliban assault team killed 17 people in an attack on an Indian guesthouse in Kabul.
Jan. 18, 2010: A Taliban assault team struck at the presidential palace, the Justice Ministry, and the Central Bank. Seven Taliban fighters, three policemen, and two civilians were killed.
Oct. 24, 2009: An al Qaeda and Haqqani Network suicide assault team killed five foreign UN workers and three Afghans in an attack on a UN guesthouse in Kabul.
Oct. 8, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed 17 civilians and wounded more than 80 in an attack outside the Indian embassy in Kabul.
Sept. 2, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber assassinated the deputy chief of Afghanistan’s intelligence service and the leader of the provincial council during an attack at a mosque in Laghman province. The two Afghan leaders were among 23 people killed in the deadly attack.
July 24, 2009: Police in Khost City killed seven Taliban fighters as they attempted to assault the provincial police headquarters and a bank.
July 21, 2009: Suicide bombers armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles attacked government installations and a US base in the cities of Gardez and Jalalabad. Eight Taliban fighters and six Afghan security personnel were reported killed in the failed attacks.
May 12, 2009: The Taliban launched a multi-pronged suicide attack against government and security installations in Khost province, a stronghold of the deadly Haqqani Network. Eleven Taliban fighters and nine civilians were killed in the daylong assault.
April 1, 2009: Four Taliban suicide bombers disguised as Afghan soldiers attempted to kill the Kandahar provincial council after entering the compound. Security forces foiled the attack but seven civilians and six policemen were killed during the fighting.
March 30, 2009: A suicide bomber wearing a police uniform penetrated security at a police compound in Kandahar’s Andar district and killed five policemen and four civilians after detonating his vest.
Feb. 11, 2009 The Taliban conducted a multi-pronged assault on two Afghan ministries and a prison headquarters in the capital of Kabul that resulted in 19 people killed and more than 50 wounded.
Feb. 2, 2009: A suicide bomber detonated his vest inside a training center for police reservists in the town of Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province. Twenty-one Afghan police were killed and seven more were wounded in the suicide attack.
Dec. 4, 2008: A three-man suicide team stormed the headquarters of Afghanistan’s intelligence service in Khost province. Six intelligence and police officials were killed and another seven were wounded.
Sept. 7, 2008: Two Taliban suicide bombers entered a police headquarters in Kandahar province and searched for a senior police general in charge of border security at the Spin Boldak crossing point. Six policemen were killed and 37 were wounded, including the general, in the bombings.
Sept. 6, 2008: A Taliban suicide bomber penetrated a secure government building in the southwestern province of Nimroz and detonated his vest. The attack killed six people, including Nimroz province’s intelligence chief and his 20-year-old son.
July 7, 2008: A suicide car bomber hit the outside wall of the Indian embassy in a crowded neighborhood in Kabul, killing 54 people and wounding more than 140.
April 27, 2008: A Taliban assault team attempted to assassinate President Karzai during a military parade outside Kabul. Two members of parliament were killed and 11 others were wounded during the barrage of automatic gunfire and mortar shells.
Jan. 14, 2008: A suicide assault team from the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network raided the heavily secured Serena Hotel. Terrorists wearing suicide vests breached the front gate with a suicide attack and then entered the hotel and began shooting civilians. A Norwegian journalist, an American aid worker, and at least five security guards were killed in the assault.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.